Decentralized Applications or dApps, as the term is coined, have taken the entire blockchain industry by storm. A new breed of next-generation digital applications, dApps are interlaced with blockchain and are distributed in nature. Since dApps are developed on blockchain, they are decentralized in nature and can never be controlled by a single entity, thus eliminating the risk of a single point of failure. In this article, we are listing the top 10 best dApps.
While dApps are still in its infancy, it might still be early to have an accurate definition that clearly states the applications of such technology. However, there are some common features that can be encountered in every dApp environment:
- Open Source: Ideally, dApps are autonomous in nature and a consensus from most of the elements of the network is required to decide on any change. Further, the code base of the environment is available for inspection.
- Decentralized: Since the development of dApps is done on blockchain which is decentralized in nature, the entire records of the application’s operations are recorded and stored indefinitely in a ledger available to the public domain. This ensures transparency while avoiding the pitfalls of centralization.
- Incentivised: The participating validators in the underlying blockchain technology are incentivized and rewarded with proportionate cryptographic tokens.
- Protocol: A particular cryptographic algorithm is agreed upon by the community of applications that shows the proof of value. While the first consensus mechanism used by Bitcoin was PoW (Proof-of-Work), since then various hybrid consensus mechanisms have emerged that ensures better transparency and autonomy. For instance, Ethereum uses PoS or Proof-of-Stake. Other mechanisms that are used in the development of dApps include DPoS (Delegated Proof of Stake), PoC (Proof of Capacity), PoET (Proof of Elapsed Time), PoA (Proof of Authority) etc.
dApps Development Process:
Technically, Decentralized Applications are developed on the principle of smart contracts that cannot be controlled by a singular authority. It is a peer-to-peer network and today, the Ethereum network is undoubtedly the king of dApps and smart contracts with over 90% of the existing dApps hosted on its blockchain.
While a user may not be able to sight any material changes when operating on the front-end of a dApp, the development process is fairly complex that differs completely from a traditional software development setup.
Below is a graphical guide that fairly explains the steps involved in the development process of decentralized applications.
These apps have real-life use-cases and contain real-world assets that can be developed for the sole motive of entertainment such as games or to even generate revenues and establish a business model such as cryptocurrency exchanges.
Read: What is a dapp?
So, here’s a list of top 10 live dApps that have mainstream use cases and have become extremely popular in the blockchain industry:
Developed by Aurora, a firm that has launched numerous dApps based on financial services, IDEX is the very first decentralized cryptocurrency exchange using smart contracts to run its operations. The operations of the exchange went live in October and have witnessed rapid growth in its user-base since. It is one of the most advanced dApp on the Ethereum platform that facilitates real-time transactions between users with an extremely high transactional throughput.
A next-generation blockchain game that allows its players to explore a blockchain-based galaxy, the game is where users can build spaceships and colonize planets. The game is built around the theme of ownership of resources of the planets and users are required to constantly carry out research to unravel the mysteries of the inexplicable galaxy. Exploring the use-cases of blockchain and decentralization, the developers have designed the application that allows players to jointly contribute to the storyline of the game and become a witness to unraveling the mysteries of the universe.
Similar to an online marketplace for jobs such as Freelancer or Upwork, Ethlance has explored the uses blockchain to develop a decentralized marketplace for job postings where employers can easily find freelancers and get the job done. The dApp runs on Ethereum blockchain and unlike the traditional platforms where the platform charges for a registration fee or generates its revenue from the contractual commission, Ethlance runs on a sustainable model and is entirely free of cost. This essentially means that it will never charge its users or take a cut from the transactions that happen between an employer and a freelancer.
An extremely interesting project built on the Ethereum blockchain, Aragon is a dApp to create and manage decentralized autonomous organization popularly known as DAOs. While the concept of DAO is applicable to either of the companies, organizations, foundations or non-profits, using dApps adds an extra level of transparency and leveraging smart contracts enables efficiency. It enables effective governance of such entities without the actual need of intermediaries that is replaced by the app using governable Ethereum smart contracts.
An Ethereum based cryptocurrency exchange in one of the most decentralized forms; Blockonix is popular primarily for its reliability and extremely low transaction costs. The operations of the exchange are completely automated occurring through smart contracts and the exchange charges transaction fees at as low as 0.1% of the transaction volume with a discount of up to 70% when users make payments of such costs using exchange’s native BDT coins.
This virtual cat-collectible dApp environment has inadvertently brought crypto to the masses. Tokenizing cats, an internet favorite, Cryptokitties is a dApp developed on Ethereum blockchain where kitty collectors are required to digitally purchase kitties and breed them before they can resell them and fetch a higher price. These cyber-kitties came live in the final quarter of 2017 and have generated high levels of interest that resulted in slowing down the entire Ethereum network with soaring GAS fees.
The dApp uses the blockchain framework to create a world within virtual reality, a world where users typically live a ‘Second Life’ on blockchain. With Decentraland users are required to purchase pieces of land that are recorded securely on Ethereum blockchain and use the tools of app to create unique experiences that may or may not be alike to anything in existence. Users can do real-life things such as shop, make friends, set up a business, drive a car, play or even watch to live music all that happens within this 360-degree virtual world.
A peer-to-peer marketplace, LocalEthereum is where users can connect to buy or sell their ether holdings. The dApp doesn’t offer support for other tokens and allows buyers and sellers to connect through smart contracts for the successful completion of trades. While the tokens are easily available on crypto-exchanges, using LocalEthereum eliminates the risk of a potential hack since they do not have access to any private keys of the users’ wallets. The dApp supports multiple payment options including PayPal and the ether is held in escrow up and until the transaction is confirmed.
Bancor has become a marketplace for users to convert their crypto holdings into different tokens on its network. The ‘built-in’ liquidity aspect of the app enables users to buy/sell even the non-mainstream tokens for which the demand-supply is limited and users face slippage cost many times. It uses smart contracts to link connector tokens in the network with a fixed conversion ratio enabling the liquidity on its platform.
Ethereum-based Gnosis is a dApp used to make predictions. A practical application of the dApp is the prediction market for the pre-auction art valuation or the chances of a particular team winning a hockey match. Using its native GNO token, users can discover various possibilities for them to make the best bets. While still in its beta phase, the application is widely used and is already quite popular.
While it’s only the dawn of the dApp era, the platform already shows its potential and its truly revolutionary use-cases. With Ethereum offering a myriad of possibilities, the dApp environment definitely opens up a new level playing field for developers to develop solutions by implementing next-gen technologies.
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